If your Florida condo association charged over $100 in non-refundable move-in fees per applicant or married couple, it appears they’re in violation of state law.
The Miami Herald reported on condo boards routinely charging more than state law allows in June, and now class-action lawsuits are sprouting across the state, including one filed on Friday against the condo association at Quantum on the Bay in Edgewater.
In a suit filed Friday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, August Lasseter says he was billed $625 in non-refundable fees when he signed a lease for a unit at one of the two high-rise towers at Quantum on the Bay last year. The charges broke down to $100 for a background check, $175 for “administrative review,” $125 for registration and $225 for move-in.
“I questioned it at the time, but it’s not like you really have a choice,” said Lasseter, 37, who runs a modeling agency. “They say you pay it or you don’t move in.”
Associations like these are in violation of the Florida Condominium Act, which the Herald outlines below:
The Florida Condominium Act prohibits condo associations from charging fees of more than $100 per applicant “in connection with the sale, mortgage, lease, sublease, or other transfer of a unit.” (Married couples are considered one person and children are exempt.)
That $100 includes “all non-refundable fees” for what’s listed below.
But legal experts consulted by the Herald say the statute is clear and associations are gouging applicants. The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes confirmed that the $100 transfer cap is meant to include all non-refundable fees for background checks, registration, move-in, pets, elevator usage and other charges requested by condo boards and their representatives.
This is disturbing because as the tenant in the Quantum suit states, most residents pay it and move on.
Aaron Resnick, an attorney handling the suit, tells the Herald “it’s shocking that associations are intentionally and knowingly charging these fees when they are improper even after the public attention from media coverage... It’s black-and-white. The law can’t be any clearer on what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do. ... Knowledgeable condo associations and property management companies have been flouting the law for years. It’s a shame that it will take lawsuits to end this practice.”
Resnick claims suits are being filed across the state.
This case also sounds familiar on a personal level. Of the three condos I’ve lived in in Miami, all failed to abide by the $100 limit, often by over four times the amount or more.
Has this happened to you? Please share in the comments.
- Condo rip-off: Tenant sues association over high fees [Miami Herald]